Christchurch attack: Ardern questions Facebook

IANS-

 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday said she intends to ask Facebook how the Christchurch gunman, who slaughtered 50 people during Friday prayers, was able to live stream the massacre.

Using a GoPro camera, the terrorist on Friday broadcast extremely graphic footage of him shooting people at the Al Noor Mosque via Facebook Live. The live stream was available to watch on social media for hours after the attack, newshub.co.nz reported.

Besides being live-streamed on Facebook, the video, lasting 17 minutes, was shared repeatedly on YouTube and Twitter, before being removed by the social media giant.

In a press conference, Ardern was quoted as saying that the New Zealand Government did its best to take down the video, but its power to do so is limited.

“We did as much as we could to remove or seek to have removed some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack.

“Ultimately, though, it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal and support their removal.”

She disapproved of the social media giant Facebook’s incompetence at allowing graphic content to be uploaded and shared thus widely.

“Obviously these social media platforms have a wide reach. This is a problem that goes well beyond New Zealand, it has played out in other parts of the world.

“So whilst we might have seen action was taken here, that hasn’t prevented (the footage) being circulated beyond New Zealand shores.

“This is an issue that goes well beyond New Zealand, but it doesn’t mean we can’t play an active role in getting it resolved,” Ardern said.

Facebook has on its part said that as many as 1.5 million videos of the attack were removed from its platform in the first 24 hours.

“We continue to work around the clock to remove violating content using a combination of technology and people… ,” Mia Garlick, Facebook New Zealand, wrote in a tweet.

“In the first 24 hours, we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload…

“Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we’re also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content,” Garlick added.

Ardern also said that in the wake of the Christchurch attacks, she has been in continuous contact with Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, the report said.

“I haven’t spoken to her directly, but she has reached out in acknowledgment of what has occurred here in New Zealand. This is an issue that I will look to be discussing directly with Facebook,” Ardern noted.

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